Sir Bradley Wiggins can win another Tour de France, according to Team Sky performance manager Rod Ellingworth.
Ellingworth told the Evening Standard: “He’s won it once so could win it again if he wanted to. You never know with Brad but it’s about getting people in the right frame of mind.
“I don’t know, but his goal is at least to make the Tour team next year.”
Wiggins played down his chances of ever winning the Tour when the subject last came up, because team-mate and 2013 winner Chris Froome is a stronger contender. He said: “I don’t mind admitting that Chris is probably a better Grand Tour rider than me. He is a much better climber, he can time-trial well. He has age on his side, he has no kids. That’s fine.
“If Chris wants to, he could potentially win five Tours now. So if I want to win another Tour, I’d probably have to leave the team.”
Wiggins has also said that he didn’t think he coud make the sacrifices necessary to win the Tour again.
But even with Wiggins as support, Froome won’t have an easy ride to a second title at the 2014 Tour, Ellingworth said. Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana both pose significant threats.
“I think next year’s Tour will be very interesting,” said Ellingworth. “Nibali beat Chris in a straight fight at Tirreno-Adriatico, and he’s clearly a super exciting rider. In addition, I think Quintana can get more out of himself.”
Ellingworth is promoting his new book Project Rainbow: How British Cycling Reached the Top of the World, which tells the story of Team GB’s success getting Mark Cavendish into the world champion’s rainbow jersey in 2011.
But an attempted repeat in 2013 went severely tits-up when none of the British team finished the world championships.
Ellingworth said: “We’ve not got it right just yet, have we? There’s a long way to go. But we’ll keep working towards it. I think we underperformed and, by that, I mean me as well. We didn’t have the right mindset and I made mistakes.”
The next two world championships are expected to be hilly, so Ellingworth and Team GB have two more chances to crack the rainbow jersey challenge before his next long-term deadline, the 2016 Olympic road race in Rio.
Ellingworth said he hadn’t paid much attention to the possible Olympic route he’d recently seen.
“It’s difficult to say now as it could be a 2km hill or an 8km hill on the course, which can have a massive difference,” he said. “But I’d say it’s a good one for anyone finishing that year’s Tour in form, you’d say someone like Chris or else Pete Kennaugh. It’ll be exciting to see how Pete develops — he can clearly climb plus he has the right attitude.”
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.